UAE pardons British student accused of spying

London: United Arab Emirates pardoned Matthew Hedges, the British academic who was sentenced last week to life in prison on spying charges on Monday. The Emirati government announced his release “with immediate effect”. The British officials lobbied to have him released.

Following an outrage in Britain after the conviction of Hedges Prime Minister Theresa May had promised to raise the issue with the United Arab Emirates at the “highest level.”

Both the British government and Hedges’ wife have denied that he was a British spy.

Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the emir of Abu Dhabi and president of the United Arab Emirates pardoned 31-year-old, Hedges, who was graduating at Durham University in England.

According to sources Hedges in a series of short video clips confessed to espionage, including gathering information on the Emirates’ military equipment purchases. He also admitted to being an agent of MI-6, the British spy service, and gave his rank as captain, a position that does not exist in the agency, the news organizations reported.